As cold and flu season gets in full swing, many people are prepping to avoid the virus by getting their flu shots. The flu shot is safe, effective, cheap, and widely available, and if you're able to get the flu shot, it's important to do so — not just for yourself, but for those around you who can't get a flu shot and want to be protected.
"The flu vaccine is the most effective way to protect yourself from catching the flu this season," Papatya Tankut, R.Ph, Vice President of Pharmacy Affairs at CVS Health tells Bustle via email. "However, if you are unable to receive the flu shot this season due to reasons including an allergy or compromised immune system," Tankut says, there are ways to boost your immunity and help prevent yourself from catching the flu.
For the inactivated version of the flu shot, which contains dead flu cells, the CDC says most people are able to get it unless they have allergies to components of the vaccine, have had Gullain-Barré Syndrome, or aren't feeling well. For the live vaccine, the CDC says very young people, very old people, pregnant people, people who have weakened immune systems or will be taking care of someone with a weakened immune system, among others, should avoid this version of the shot. The flu vaccine doesn't prevent against all flu-causing viruses, but it is formulated to protect against the most common ones.
If you or someone you know is unable to get a version of the flu shot, you can still take preventative measures to avoid getting the flu. Here are some flu-prevention action steps to consider.